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BIG Release! Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

Hello again, friends of Balsamiq!

It's been a while since we spoke, but we promised you then that the next time we did speak, it would be about the new desktop apps we have been working on. So it's my incredible pleasure to introduce you to Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop.

Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop is the culmination of everything we have learned in the 10 years we have been making desktop apps. It's been re-written, from the ground up, to be native and fast, while staying comfortable and familiar. Over 1000 people have tested it during a year-long private beta, and we finally think it's ready to launch. We really think you're going to like it. Let's talk about why!

What's new in Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

This is a fun topic because, technically, everything is new. We have spent the last few years completely rewriting our editor and app code because we wanted a completely native application. Gone are the Adobe underpinnings, replaced with a completely native framework of our own creation. If you've used any of our modern web apps, you have already experienced the core of this new editor. We simply took the work we had done for the web apps, and wrapped it in a thin - and homemade - code layer. And while everything underneath is new, you should feel right at home when you use it.

"Balsamiq Wireframes is now a native macOS app and one can really “feel” it: It’s fast, responsive, and also looks sharper. It’s even more fun to work with now!" - Rene Rosendahl, beta tester

"The good old flavor of Balsamiq in a new fresh and friendly interface!" - Benedetto, Windows beta tester superstar

Of course, there are new features as well, and I'd like to call out a couple of them specifically.

A new review and commenting system

When we released Balsamiq Cloud, we added a review and comment system that made collaboration super easy - and now, we have brought that same system to Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop. Stakeholders can comment too (as long as they have a license or active trial), all you need to do is send them the project (.bmpr) file. You no longer need to have a separate app/system to take notes on projects - it's all built in! You can read more in our documentation.

Wireframes to Gov built in

When we redesigned our Wireframes to Go website (formally Mockups to Go), our desktop users got the short end of the stick. Importing controls was much harder than it needed to be, and we kept telling folks "Hang tight, I promise this will get better." Today, it gets better.

In Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, you'll find a "More Controls..." button in the upper-right-hand corner of the UI Library. Clicking that loads Wireframes to Go inside of the app. From there you can search and import controls directly into your project without having to leave the app. Read more about Wireframes to Go here.

A brand new full screen presentation mode

We spent a lot of time rethinking our Fullscreen Presentation mode for our modern apps. This redesigned mode allows for easy user testing, review, and presentation of projects you're working on (and it's super easy to swap between those functions). You can read more about the new Full Screen Presentation Mode in our documentation.

Opening Balsamiq Cloud projects

One constant in the world of software is that if you have a web app and a desktop app, someone will want them to talk to each other. We have wanted to do this for years, and with Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, we were finally able to.

If you have a Balsamiq Cloud account, you can authorize Wireframes for Desktop to use that account, and open any projects you have access to. Then, as long as you have an internet connection (offline syncing is coming later), you can edit your Balsamiq Cloud projects in Wireframes for Desktop. Working in a native app is almost always going to be faster than a browser (and you don't have to worry about keyboard shortcut conflicts!).

"The fact that Balsamiq Wireframes opens Cloud projects is huge. Now I can take advantage of the collaborative features of Cloud without having to wireframe in a browser!" - Cori Watilo, beta tester

And more...

  • A Larger Canvas (six times as large!)
  • Spell Check (macOS only for now)
  • Android Controls

Beyond that, there are purely technical updates that weren't possible in Balsamiq Mockups 3 for Desktop because of the underlying frameworks. Things like:

  • High-Quality, Vector-based PDF exports with selectable text
  • Better trackpad and mouse support
  • Native features (like editing in Full Screen on macOS)

We really think that you'll enjoy using Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop.

The year-long private beta has been an awesome experience - so many people who have helped us make the app better and better with every release. Now it's ready for you. We hope you'll feel the same way. 🙂

Buying or updating to Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

As with everything we do, we tried to keep pricing as simple and fair as possible.

For new users, Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop will cost $89/user.

Same price as it has been for a while, and we don't see a reason to change it. For folks coming from Balsamiq Cloud: you can use the Desktop app to edit your Balsamiq Cloud projects for free (as long as you have an internet connection).

For users with an existing Balsamiq Mockups for Desktop license, Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop will cost $44.50/user.

Even though this is a completely new app, we wanted to thank the folks who have purchased our apps in the past. It's the first time in 10 years we have charged for an update.

For more details on how to use your key to get the discount, or how it works for volume license customers, please take a look at this FAQ.

If you have purchased Balsamiq Mockups 3 for Desktop in the last 90 days, you will get to update to Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop for free.

What about Mockups 3 for Desktop?

While we are no longer selling Mockups 3 for Desktop, existing customers should feel free to keep using it (in fact, if you're on the fence about upgrading, we encourage you to stay with Mockups 3 until you're sure).

We will maintain compatibility with Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop and Balsamiq Cloud until at least the end of 2020. It gets a little tricky after 2020 (when Adobe retires and sells off the technology we used to build the app), but we will support our apps for as long as we possibly can (we still get Mockups 1 tickets from time to time).

We totally think you will find the upgrade worthwhile, but if not, don't worry about Mockups 3 for Desktop. It will still be around for a while!

The next chapter...

I cannot tell you how long I have been writing this blog post in my head, waiting for the app to be ready for you. It's a really exciting time for us as all of our current generation apps are based on the same technology. We plan to spend the next few months bugfixing and optimizing our apps, while sprinkling in new features here and there. It's an exciting time, and we hope you'll come along for it!

Alright, go get the new version and try it out! Here are the build numbers of today's release:

  • Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop (Windows): 4.0.17
  • Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop (Mac OS): 4.0.14

If you notice anything funny with it, get in touch!

Happy wireframing! 🙂

Brendan for the Balsamiq Team

Leave a Comment

Comments (11)

  1. If I take Balsamiq Cloud subscription, will I get Desktop Balsamiq free?

    Shivanand Reddy Yerva
  2. No option to export to PNG 2x yet?

    • It’s on the roadmap, Ricardo. Not sure when it will be implemented, but it’s something we want to do.

      Our PDF exports are high-res for now, so you can grab 2x images off of them. Not a great workaround, but helpful in a pinch. 🙂

  3. Hi Virgin,
    thanks for your answer. I will convert the old .bmml with my still running Mockups 3 🙂

  4. This sounds great! Beeing a native UX conceptioner I really love working with Mockups on Mac for many years now, did great projects with it and was able to convince many customers of how useful and neccessay wireframes really are. Thanks for your work. I’m going to pay happily for the upgrade right away.

    One question: will it still be possible to import old .bmml files made with former versions of Mockup?

    • Hi Barbara and thanks for your kind words!

      You won’t be able to import BMML files (our old file format) into Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop but we’ll be happy to help you migrate those, as detailed here.

      However, if you have a copy of Mockups 3 for Desktop (our legacy Desktop tool) on your machine, you can also do this conversion yourself. More details on this page.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  5. This is so good news – i’ve been waiting a long time for this upgrade of my preferred wireframing-tool – great work!
    The performance of the presentation mode for bigger files seems to have improved dramatically 😀

    Looking forward to useful new power features, let me suggest
    – Global search/replace across all wireframes in product
    – Syntax highlight for markdown controls – in particular table grid

    Andreas Ib
    • Awesome, Andreas! Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

      I’ve added your votes to the related feature requests, don’t hesitate to email use via if you want to share more.

      Thanks again!

  6. What about Linux? Upcoming, or Wine tested?

    • Hi Fred!

      A dedicated Linux version is on our roadmap but it is not a high priority since we don’t have many people asking for it.

      We usually suggest using Balsamiq Cloud (our web version) since it works great on Linux. It uses our latest native editor, the same that powers our Desktop version. Would this be a suitable solution for you?

      Unfortunately, our new Windows version doesn’t work on WINE right now but it might in the future, we’ll investigate!

      Any questions, we’re here!